Master Anger before it Masters You



March 14 - 16

Hudson, FL

House of Faith


NOVEMBER 29, 2017

    A nger can be your ally if it is your servant; but if anger becomes your master, then it will become your enemy. Anger became the enemy of Cain.


          Cain was "very angry" because God rejected his offering, while accepting his brother's. God asked him to search his heart, "Why are you angry?" Psalm 4:4 says, "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." Cain refused to search his heart, and instead, he let anger become his master.


          God warned him, "Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it" (Gen 4:7). Being angry is not itself a sin; it is what anger leads you to do that can either be good or bad. Good, righteous anger is based on true morality. When you see injustice or the breaking of God's commandments, it is right to feel anger, but it must lead you to constructive actions, rather than destructive ones. Slavery was abolished because of righteous anger. Other evils have been curtailed or abolished because people felt angry enough to do something about it.


          On the other hand, sometimes, you can feel angry over something that is not "just." Cain did not have any just reason for being angry. He had done wrong, yet he was angry over the consequences of his wrong-doing.

 A couple had counseled with me about their marriage problems. The woman had married a man out of prison, and although many former prisoners have come to the Lord and reformed their lives, this husband had not. He stayed home, rather than work. He did not help with housework or child rearing. He left all that to his wife, including earning all the money. Instead of being grateful, he constantly chided his wife. He criticized her at every turn, often cursing her. She told me that she could put up with his laziness, but not his verbal abuse. The man promised to change, but didn't.


          Eventually she left him and moved out of town. He called me pleading with me to talk his wife into taking him back. He said he had no place to live. I met with him. I told him, "You need to make yourself attractive to your wife. First thing you need to do is get a job." The man became very angry with me for suggesting he needed to work. I couldn't believe the anger pouring forth from him to me. I realized that the woman had been living in a nightmare. The man had no justified reason for being angry. He was the one at fault in the marriage, and his anger was the main cause of his downfall. Anger was his enemy!


                              Three bad ways people deal with anger


          Other than the obvious outburst of anger, there are three bad ways that people deal with anger.


          1. Withdraw.

          Some people withdraw from people they are angry with. They might give the silent treatment if they are forced to live together. Others stop living or spending time with them. They might express anger by quitting church. They might stop attending family functions because of anger. They don't necessarily throw a tempter tantrum, but they show their anger in withdrawing from people.

          When I was about eleven years old, I played for a good baseball team. Since the age of nine, I was always in the starting line up and even the lead-off batter. During the season, I went on a week-long family vacation. After the vacation was over, arriving back in town, I quickly put on my baseball uniform, took my glove and jotted out to the game. Everyone was happy to see me. When I looked over the starting line-up, I wasn't on it. Throughout the entire game, I sat on the bench. I felt such anger that I wasn't put in the game.

          The next day was practice, and I called the coach to tell him that I was quitting the team. He asked why. I told him, "Coach, I am going on a lot of vacations this year, so I can't commit fully to the team." He tried to talk me out of it, but I was determined to quit.

          Some guys from the team showed up at my house; they tried to convince me to come back to the team. I gave them the same excuse.

          As I look back at this, I realize the truth: I quit because I was angry for being benched for that game. What should I have done? As an eleven year old, I didn't have much wisdom, but I should have been honest. If I would have told the coach the truth that I was angry at being benched, he would have likely told me that it would not have been right for me to skip a week of practices and think I could play in the game. He would have assured me that I would get to play again as long as I attended practices. I would have stayed on the team.

          Instead, I wasted the summer being bored on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while my friends were having fun playing baseball.

          How about you? Are you pulling away from people because of your anger? It is important to admit that you are angry and talk it out with others. Otherwise, you will let anger keep you from enjoyment and friendships.


          2. Passive Aggressive.

          Passive Aggressive is indirect resistance. A person will appear as if everything is alright, yet they find a way to hurt or get even with those they are angry with. For example, a husband may feel angry toward his wife because she is not being intimate with him. Instead of talking to his wife about it, he pretends everything is fine, but he gets back at her in indirect ways. For example, the wife may ask the husband to help with the housework, but the husband ignores her. He ignores her because he is angry with her.

          The right way to handle this would be for the husband to talk to his wife about his feelings. This takes humility. He might find out that the wife is using sex as a passive aggressive action because she feels that the husband has stop being romantic. In the end, they might get a good laugh and make positive changes.

How about you? It's not easy to discover that you might be passive aggressive. It manifest in so many ways, not just in marriage, but at church, work and in various ways.


           3. Brooding.

         To brood is to constantly play over in your mind the event that is making you angry. This is the most dangerous way to handle anger. As you constantly play the offense over and over in your mind, the anger you have will increase.

          This is what happened to King Saul. A woman's choir come into the palace to sing a song for the king. The lyrics went like this: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands" (1 Samuel 18:7). They meant it as a compliment to the king and his son-in-law, David; but Saul took it the wrong way. The Bible says:

"Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. 'They have credited David with tens of thousands,' he thought, 'but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?' And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul." (verses 8-10).

          Notice carefully that Saul "kept a jealous eye on David." He kept replaying the irritating song in his mind. This caused his anger to burst into a huge fire in his soul. As a result of letting the anger grow bigger, an "evil spirit came upon Saul."  The evil spirit eventually led to Saul's tragic downfall. You open yourself to evil spirits when you do not master anger. If you keep brooding over the mistreatment, you will increase the anger and open the door to demons.

          The stories you hear about mass shootings is almost always caused by people who have been brooding over the events that has caused them anger.

          God's answer to this is simple: "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26). You cannot take the risk and sleep on your anger. You must forgive the person who you think hurt you. You can't wait for weeks to forgive. You must forgive daily. The Lord's prayer is a daily prayer, "Give us this day, our daily bread." You do not ask for your week's or month's supply; only today's supply, which means that when we pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive those indebted to us"; it also means that we forgive daily. Don't let one hurtful offenses stay in your mind for more than one day. Forgive daily.

          As you practice daily forgiveness, you close the door to evil spirits.



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